From Adversity comes Opportunity — The Post-Covid19 World of Recruitment.

Post-Covid19 — Change Like Never Before

If you listen carefully, away from the mainstream media and focus instead on the realms of social channels such as LinkedIn and industry webcasts and thought leaders, there is an abundance of well-placed optimism for the changing world around us.

Challenges are ahead for hiring companies and smart recruitment businesses recognise that by evolving and adapting what they do, they will be the ones providing the solutions to the complex issue’s companies will face moving forward into the Post-COVID-19 world of hiring and recruitment.

The Evidence is Clear

There is plenty of evidence that many recruitment businesses are thriving in this crisis. Reports are abundant of businesses experiencing their best Q3/Q4s ever in 2020. It is reasonably assumed that this was because of the slowdown from Q1 and Q2 suddenly concluding into positive outcomes as people finally got to grips with the ‘new normal’ and the adaptation process kicked in.

The Recruitment & Employment Confederation CEO, Neil Carberry, predicted that Q4 2020 would be a plateau and ultimately lead into a steady climb in Q1 2021. All the evidence so far indicates his skills at prophecy are keenly edged.

The U.K. Government acknowledges that the only way to get the country out of an employment crisis is through and working in tandem with a sophisticated recruitment industry, we proved that coming out of the last financial crisis.

The support for the industry is robust and clear.

But there is far more than just turning a corner and a return to more abundant hiring levels to be optimistic about and of course, there are challenges ahead. Challenges that will become opportunities.

The Paradoxical Market

We have all lived, survived, and even thrived in the traditional market conditions of either Client-driven or Candidate-driven. Well, this is going to be an entirely unique recruitment landscape.

It is going to be a Client-driven Market because they have got the job vacancies and will hire more conservatively. But Candidate-driven because they are going to be empowered, possibly more risk-averse and cautious than ever before.

Suddenly location and aspects like commutability are expanded immensely and the opportunity for roles in many sectors to become nationalised and even globalised is real. If companies move to flex the working week between Office and WFH does it really matter where the prospective candidate lives?

You could live in Leeds and work 3 days a week from home and 2 days a week in London, there is a mutual cost saving here for both candidate and the client.

Work-life balance, all these things are going to mean that there will be even more applicants for every vacancy from a far greater talent pool with infinite variables around the whole package and negotiation aspects.

It is going to be incredibly complex for organisations to serve their own needs, that is where you come in!

From Recruitment Consultant to Management Consultant

Recruiters are going to have to skill up, become commercially savvy problem solvers and project managers. They are going to have to become Management Consultants who specialise in Talent Acquisition.

Professionals who can truly understand and interpret their client’s problems and convert them into solutions and opportunities. Be able to deliver services that solve challenges whilst increasing efficiency, whilst focusing on expediency, hiring accuracy, and ultimately reducing cost and critically risk.

The whole recruitment process can be significantly shortened now.

It is going to take smart consultative recruiters to drill down, establish rules and negotiate all these elements before we even get candidates into an interview process.

The critical aspect of this is being able to demonstrate and evidence all of this to clients. To prove that the candidates you are presenting are serious, have been fully assessed for suitability above and beyond a skills and experience assessment and a cursory interview.

Now recruiters need to de-risk their client’s selection process. It is fundamentally our job, it’s what the hiring companies really want us to do.

They will need us to assess using key competencies and behavioural and cultural matching alongside work from home skills, capabilities, and aptitudes. US Management Consulting and leadership development firm research demonstrated the following insight:

Source: Leadership IQ

Suddenly, a CV is no longer enough. When there are potentially hundreds of suitable, well-qualified candidates available for a role across the country if not the continent who is going to reduce that huge talent pool down accurately and fast to establish the best candidates?

More importantly, candidates who, if offered will say YES?

You are going to have to sharpen your interview skills, secure commitment from your candidates to the process and go back to the basics closing off the counter-offer scenario, and negotiating packages up-front.

As importantly, how do organisations reach such a potentially vast talent pool? Advertising a vacancy under the traditional postcode or city index simply is not going to work. No Boolean search tool is going to drill down across such a broad spectrum.

Client’s Need Solutions not CVs

This brings us back to the Client. They need results, but they are also in the driving seat because certainly in the short-term during times of economic pressure, upheaval and change, companies do not stop hiring, but they do stop hiring for the sake of it.

Their focus changes, they need to hire talent that can deliver results, people who can make a difference, who can bring added value and capability and who can impact the bottom line in some way. They stop compromising on whom they hire, as they often do in a talent short market.

Why pay someone in Reading £90,000 a year because the cost of living and property prices dictate that salary when you can get someone as good as if not better for £70,000 who lives in Newcastle or maybe even less for someone in Bulgaria?

Now they have got talent pools beyond their wildest dreams. Once they begin to factor in elements such as regional salary variations and possibly even time zones, the available talent pool becomes vast and even globalised.

More importantly, the focus needs to be beyond a 90-day rebate period. The Recruiters of tomorrow will focus on hiring accuracy and long-term retention metrics. It is your job to understand, interpret and then accurately match people to organisations and opportunities.

CV Vendors and First Past the Post is Dead

Controversially, I have always believed that the rapid ascent of technology in the recruitment and selection process has been detrimental to everyone, especially candidates and recruiters and ultimately clients. In the past, I referred to it as a manic pursuit of talent alienation instead of talent acquisition.

It is not that technology in all its forms is bad. But in most cases from the introduction of ATS in co-ordination with automated vacancy dispersal, absurd PSLs, one-click job posting, miscellaneous LinkedIn InMail’s, one-click apply options and so on, it’s just been poorly adopted and applied.

Those days are now over or will be soon, I hope.

We often hear clients moan about seeing too many wrong CVs, interviewing the wrong candidates and hiring the wrong people.

If as a recruitment business you and your recruiters can nullify that risk, enable your clients to trust you to find the right candidates first time every time, they will adore you.

So will your candidates.

Remember the Candidates?

As an industry, we now have a responsibility more than ever to ensure that we are putting candidates in front of the right career opportunities that match them in every way from every perspective.

Candidates can explore significantly more opportunities because their investment in the process is negligible. They very probably, no longer need to book time off work to travel to 2–3 interviews, sneak off at lunchtime to take those phone calls.

Because they may very well work from home, they can just block an hour out of their diary and take a zoom call, do an interview over their lunch break.

But they are probably going to be more selective about what opportunities they explore and which recruiters they work with.

Within a week or two and for less than 3 hours invested time they are at the offer stage and thinking about more than just a few extra quid. They are weighing up the risk, the additional quality of life, work-life balance and a myriad of other things such as the social responsibility, environmental and general values of the company making the offer.

They can now afford to be more selective because potentially without the usual constraints of travelling to the office every day, they may have an abundance of opportunities.

Are You Ready?

To be clear, again, Recruitment Consultants and Recruitment Businesses need to change. They must become Management Consulting firms that specialise in Talent Acquisition and can demonstrate clear abilities to solve problems, overcome complex hiring challenges and alleviate their clients’ challenges accurately, expediently and cost-effectively.

The ones who do will realise the immense opportunity in the coming years, more importantly, they will once again win the respect they deserve from their candidates and clients, relish the job that they do and the service they provide and reap the rewards accordingly.

Excited? I certainly am.

Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.

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